Why women entrepreneurs?

Women's economic equality is a human right.

Because gender equality is a fundamental human right.

Gender equality across every aspect of society is a fundamental human right and essential for our societies to be safe, prosperous and to thrive. Yet across the world, women are still being held back, short changed and denied these human rights. This, simply, is not right.

Deep rooted gender inequality, damaging gender stereotypes and sexist attitudes persist everywhere – and this all impacts on women entrepreneurs’ success.

Women face economic, social and legal barriers to setting up and running their own businesses:

  • Inequalities in education means women and girls start their economic lives disadvantaged, without essential skills and knowledge
  • In many countries laws and discriminatory practices prevent ownership of assets, or access to financial systems vital for the savings and investment businesses need
  • Women and their businesses are regularly discriminated against when trying to access business networks and markets
  • Gendered expectations around domestic and care work limit their time, empowerment and economic participation
  • Family and social attitudes and expectations undermine women’s confidence and self belief to lead businesses.
  • These factors mean women often run businesses in the most precarious and least lucrative industries – for example those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic like hospitality and retail.

We stand side by side with others in and beyond the international development sector striving for gender justice. As part of this, the Foundation is working towards the fifth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

$5 trillion is missing from global GDP because of the gender gap in entrepreneurship

Having a successful business gives me the freedom to express my ideas about how I want to show up in the world. Glory Enyinnaya, Founder and Lead Consultant of Kleos Africa, and Road to Growth alumna

2.4bn Worldwide, 2.4 billion women of working age do not have the same economic opportunities and legal rights as men.

Because when women thrive, we all benefit.

The women entrepreneurs of today are creating a better tomorrow for everyone.

We can’t afford to leave women entrepreneurs behind.  In doing so we leave future generations behind as well. The ripple effect of women’s success contributes directly to their local economy and touches lives across their community.

When women entrepreneurs succeed, they’re more likely to invest back into their families and community – into education, nutrition, wellbeing, and children’s health. What’s more, their businesses are more likely to provide necessary services and opportunities to their communities.

And we directly see the ripple effect on communities from the success of women entrepreneurs on our programmes.

Together we are unstoppable – and we will enable women entrepreneurs to change the world.


250,000+ We've supported over 250,000 women to start, sustain and grow businesses

98% of the women entrepreneurs we supported in 2023 made progress towards their own objectives

The growth of my business has had a tremendous impact on the people around me. Arewa Tobiloba, who took part in our Road to Growth programme

Because women entrepreneurs will power global prosperity.

The gender gap in entrepreneurial opportunity is a human rights violation, but it doesn’t make economic sense either.

At least 231 million women run formal businesses in low and middle income countries and many more necessity-entrepreneurs run informal businesses to support their families.

If women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by up to 6% – boosting the global economy by $2.5-$5 trillion.

The future collective power of women entrepreneurs could be transformational in creating a better, balanced and more sustainable global economy. But we must invest in them to realise this potential that is right in front of us.

The economic impact of women’s entrepreneurial success will be not only be transformative but regenerative, as they invest back into their local community and the entrepreneurial ecosystem more broadly.

Because we won’t wait 169 years.

At the current rate of progress, it will be another century and a half before women are economically equal to men. We won’t wait!

Women’s economic empowerment gives women life choices. Financial independence is essential for women’s freedom and equality – and women being able to start, grow and sustain successful businesses is a core part of this.

That’s why our mission is critical: to empower women to start, grow and sustain successful businesses, so they can redefine the future for themselves and their societies.

Since 2008, we’ve enabled over 250,000 women entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries to do that. Our work has played a vital role in enabling hundreds of thousands of women to become better off, more secure and more independent.

We believe that women entrepreneurs will power global prosperity. The future must be equal.